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 Friday, June 21, 1991




Limeport dodges bullet, holds off East Texas 7-5

Of The Morning Call

Credit Mark Arnold with the win and his glove with the save in Limeport's 7-5 Tri-County League victory at East Texas last night.

Arnold stabbed Darren Roth's sizzling bullet and flipped to second base for an easy double play that helped take the steam out of a Longhorn rally. It was a rally that eventually cut a four-run Limeport lead in half and ended only when Mike Hoffman, representing the tying run, lined sharply to second.

And it helped A.A. -- which has slipped back into the Tri-Co pack in recent years -- keep the pressure on Coplay and Stahley's in the three-team scramble for the Northern Division flag.

"We're in the midst of a transition," admitted long-time Limeport boss Ishky Fatzinger, whose club used a 7-1 start en route to their current 10-4 ledger. "We've got quite a lot of new guys over the past few years, and it's taking some time to get everything together. But things are looking up."

Two of those newcomers, Arnold and Ishky's nephew Joe, helped spark last night's some-what sloppy (four-error) victory. The younger Fatzinger, a freshman at Temple, belted three singles and knocked in a pair of runs, including the one that put Limeport ahead to stay.

Meanwhile, Arnold sailed through the first six innings, although East Texas did score three times in the fourth without a hit and without hitting the ball out of the infield. The left-hander out of Southern Lehigh scattered three hits over those frames, struck out eight, and carried a 7-3 pad into the home seventh.

But singles by Julio Lebron and Ted Young sent a surge through the Longhorn dugout and brought up Roth, who smacked a low liner seemingly ticketed for center. However, Arnold somehow snagged the shot, then whirled to double up Lebron.

After that, back-to-back doubles by Wayne Simock and George Horn plated a pair of runs, but the comeback died when Hoffman lined to Web O'Dell.

"It was a pure reaction play," Fatzinger said of Arnold's stop. "He was hit in the head earlier this year on something like that, but luckily, nothing was broken."

"A few inches, that's all we needed," said Horn, the Longhorn player-manager. "If that gets through, anything can happen."

Limeport grabbed a lead with a third-inning run on Joe Fatzinger's one-hop smash off the glove of a diving Simock at third, but A.A. left the bases loaded, the first of three such missed opportunities.

Then, East Texas (4-11) turned three Limeport errors -- two on sacrifice bunts -- one of Arnold's two walks and a hit batsman into its third-inning "uprising."

"We have the potential to play sound defense, but right now we're just not getting it done," said manager Fatzinger, who was disappointed with his team's fundamental play. "We make little mistakes, and soon the pitcher gets in a hole."

Limeport got one of those runs back in the fourth when Ishky Fatzinger, who had walked and advanced on a wild pitch and a bunt, walked home when a wild pitch by starter and loser Dan Hayes bounced over the backstop. And A.A. went ahead to stay in the fifth, using two hits early in the inning to take the lead, then jumping on a five- walk merry-go-round that plated two key insurance runs.

The hits, a triple by Tony Sneska and Joe Fatzinger's second single, combined with a walk and Bill Fatzinger's sacrifice fly gave Limeport a 4-3 lead. It looked like Hayes was on his way to containing the damage when he caught Joe Fatzinger napping off second for the second out, but he issued three passes to load the bases, and reliever Mark Simons walked the first two he faced to force in two more tallies.

"Our pitching has been like that all year," Horn admitted.

Limeport added its final run in the top of the seventh on O'Dell's two-out Texas League single that chased in Chris Kernick, who had singled to open the frame.

"Nothing's settled yet," argued Ishky Fatzinger, disputing the notion that the division's top three teams have already locked up playoff berths. "We beat some good teams in our early streak -- Gilbertsville, Quakertown, Coplay -- but we're really not killing anybody. We're just getting by, and we could use another streak. But what we really have to do is win the games we're supposed to."


From The Morning Call -- June 21, 1991

Copyright 1991, The Morning Call